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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Robinson, Right Hon. Sir Hercules George Robert

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Robinson, Right Hon. Sir Hercules George Robert, Bart., G.C.M.G., sometime Governor of New South Wales and New Zealand, is the second son of the late Admiral Hercules Robinson, of Rosmead, co. Westmeath, author of "Harry Evelyn," a naval romance, and of "Sea Drift," by his marriage with the only daughter and heiress of Henry Widman Wood, of Rosmead. His elder brother, Sir Henry Robinson, K.C.B., is Vice-President of the Irish Local Government Board; and his younger brother, Sir William Cleaver Francis Robinson (q.v.), is Governor of Western Australia. He was born in 1824. and educated at Sandhurst Military College. After serving in the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers, he retired from the army in 1846, and was employed during the Irish famine under the Commissioners of Public Works and the Poor Law Board; being appointed Chief Commissioner to inquire into the fairs and markets of Ireland in 1852. He became President of Montserrat in 1854, Lieut.Governor of St. Christopher in the same year (holding also the dormant commission of Governor-in-Chief of the Leeward Islands), and Governor of Hong Kong in 1859, in which year he was knighted. Sir Hercules was a member of the Commission appointed in 1863 to enquire into the financial condition of the Straits Settlements, was Governor of Ceylon from 1865 to 1871, and of New South Wales from June 1872 to March 1879. During his term of office in New South Wales he made several suggestive speeches, especially one on the question of Intercolonial Federation, which has since ripened so remarkably. His patronage of the turf and his participation in the sport as an owner of racehorses also added greatly to his personal popularity. Immediately on the expiry of his term of office in New South Wales he was transferred to New Zealand, where he administered the government until August 1880, when he was appointed Governor of the Cane of Good Hope and Her Majesty's High Commissioner for South Africa. Sir Hercules, who was created K.C.M.G. in 1869 and G.C.M.G. in 1875, in recognition of his services in negotiating the cession to the British Crown in 1874 of the islands of Fiji, of which he was acting Governor until the arrival of Sir Arthur Gordon, was sent on a special mission to Mauritius in 1886, and as the result of his inquiries suspended the Governor, Sir John Pope Hennessy, who was, however, subsequently reinstated. Sir Hercules, who was appointed to the Privy Council in 1882, resigned his official connection with South Africa in 1889, and has since resided in England. He married, in 1846, Hon. Nea Arthur Ada Rose d'Amour, fifth daughter of the 9th Viscount Valentia, whose elder sister Ada subsequently married his elder brother Sir Henry. He was created a baronet in 1891.